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BHSU holds seminar to help University researchers commercialize ideas, discoveries

 
Black Hills State University student Markus Heinrich, business administration entrepreneurship major from Whitewood, speaks at the recent seminar "Building an Entrepreneurial Culture at BHSU," while BHSU student Andrew Butterfield, business administration entrepreneurship major from Spearfish, looks on. Both students have become entrepreneurs while attending BHSU.
As research continues to thrive at Black Hills State University, University officials are looking to help student and faculty researchers understand the process of commercializing their ideas.

 

Dr. Shane Sarver, director of research at BHSU, and Barbara Zwetzig, director of the Center for Business, Entrepreneurship & Tourism, recently organized a seminar titled “Building an Entrepreneurial Culture at BHSU. The collaboration emerged from some recent training Zwetzig received in the Wendy Kennedy “So What? Who Cares? Why You” methodology, a proven system to find the business value inside innovation.

 

 “We wanted to bring it to our faculty and student researches to help them commercialize a business idea, discovery,” she said.

 

More than 20 BHSU faculty members and students from the College of Business and Natural Science attended the seminar which featured several presentations including one by two BHSU students.

 

Markus Heinrich, business administration entrepreneurship major from Whitewood, and Andrew Butterfield, business administration entrepreneurship major from Spearfish, presented

“The Top 10 Things the Entrepreneurial Student Needs from BHSU” presented. Both students have become entrepreneurs while attending BHSU. Heinrich started Cans 2 Cans Recycling, a business which emphasizes the importance of recycling while providing a convenient way to do so. Butterfield has been working on establishing a new Habitat for Humanity Chapter on campus.

 

“(The presentation) was very energizing and indicative of the real presence of entrepreneurs on our campus,” Zwetzig said of the student presentation. The students at the seminar suggested BHSU designate an area for student entrepreneurs that would include access to tools to build prototypes, whiteboards, and a space for loud, entrepreneurial brainstorming.

“It was clear in the requests from the students that they rely on many resources outside of the classroom to develop their innovations and to stay current with technology,” Zwetzig said.

 

Several speakers were also on hand to discuss a variety of topics surrounding University research.

Speakers included:

  • Dr. Mel Ustad, director of commercialization with South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development Office of Commercialization, presented information about how the governor’s office supports entrepreneurial efforts in South Dakota and its universities;
  • Dr. Paul Turman, vice president of research & economic development with the South Dakota Board of Regents, discussed the growth of research in South Dakota universities, and presented tangible examples of innovation that has come from the university system and how that innovation solves societal problems.
  • Barbara Zwetzig, director of the Center for Business, Entrepreneurship & Tourism, discussed the availability of a coaching program that helps science and technology innovators communicate their ideas.
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